When you make a mistakeWhat do you do when you make a mistake? Do you let it go or do you berate yourself, tell yourself how stupid it was?

That was me for many years. Calling myself stupid was a regular thing. I still do that once in a while but not very often.

My latest mistake – I left my laptop under the seat on the airplane taking me from San Diego to Los Angeles where I was to connect to my flight home. Because I was gone for two weeks, I took my large computer bag and it wouldn’t fit in the overhead of the small plane on the first let. I had to check it at the gate so I removed my laptop even though I didn’t plan to use it on that short flight. When I got up to disembark, I picked up the things under my seat and left the computer there. I’m guessing it shifted so it wasn’t in sight. By the time I got to my connecting flight and realized I’d left it, it was gone. The plane was searched and it was nowhere to be found.

I filed a lost and found report but don’t have much nope that it will be found. If it was turned it, I’d know it by now. I can only assume that someone took it. To make matters worse, the thousands of files I had on it were not backed up. I thought they were but I was mistaken. It appears they are all gone too.

Yes, I’m very upset. I still wonder, what was I thinking? Why didn’t I remember until it was too late? What is the lesson for me? And I’ve tried to stay away from feeling guilty and shameful about what I did.

The truth is there is nothing I can do about it. It’s done and I will go on. It’s only a material thing. As for the files, I’ll recreate what I can and move on.

I’ve been thinking how this applies to parents who didn’t have the best reaction when their child came out to them. What was said cannot be taken back. It’s done. Feeling guilty and shame doesn’t change anything except to make you feel badly about yourself. It does not help your child. What you can do is forgive yourself, ask your child for forgiveness if appropriate and let it go. Then go about repairing the relationship – recreating what you had before. Or create something new and better.

I know it’s easy to say and harder to do. From my perspective, it’s essential. If I don’t forgive myself for leaving my computer on the plane or what I said and did when my kids were younger, I cannot move on. Those feelings of guilt and shame make it so much harder to move on and recreate what was. For me, it’s time to let go and move on. How about you?

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